Many future challenges exist within the field of physical activity in the United States on an individual and community level. Current trends indicate a lack of physical activity and ever-increasing obesity rates; presenting a serious public health concern. Statistics also reveal that many individuals within the population suffer from health disparities related to low levels of physical activity. However, areas for growth are possible. The first step in eliminating health disparities is understanding where, why, and how they exist in your personal life, social sphere, and community. Striving to regularly engage in physical activity may positively impact personal fitness and overall health, and may engender a culture of wellness in your community at-large.
On an individual level, healthy adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, each week. Muscle-strengthening activities should be performed on two or more days per week. Physical activity and fitness progression may be assessed using a variety of measures, such as: intensity-level, heart rate, perceived exertion, energy cost, and daily step-count. Training principles (i.e., targeting specific muscles or striving to achieve overload) will assist you in setting and achieving appropriate fitness goals in your personalized exercise program. Further strategies to enhance your physical activity engagement, and to improve individual health and wellness, will be addressed in subsequent chapters.